Venus Williams Reaches Dubai Semis

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(February 20, 2014)DUBAI – Venus Williams fought off a late charge to stop Flavia Pennetta to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships with a 6-3, 7-5 win on Thursday.

The two-time former champion had to serve for the match twice. Williams at 5-4 could nor close out the match on her first match point and Pennetta eventually broke serve. Pennetta gave back the service break in the next game and Williams rallied from 0-40 on her serve to finally close out the match.

“She just keeps fighting. She stays relevant,” said Williams of the veteran Penetta. “That’s what she does really well. She stays in the point. I have to give her credit for that. I think I could have maybe made a couple more shots, but it’s not always easy against someone who competes as well as her.”

Williams evaluated her own performance: “I felt good.  You know, it was an adjustment playing someone like her.  Her game is different than (Ana) Ivanovic, so it was definitely an adjustment.  I have to be more patient; the points are going to be longer.  We have to be a little bit more measured.

“I think in the beginning of the match I wasn’t really on that mode, but as the match went on, then I started to kind of self‑correct a little bit.”

With Williams in the semifinals and her sister Serena on the other side of the draw, Venus was asked about a possible all-Williams final.

“I think that would be fantastic, you know, but we both have to get there,” Venus said . “I would like both of us to get there, so we’ll see.”

The last time Venus and Serena met in a final was back in 2009 when Serena defeated Venus in Doha in the WTA Year End Championship.

Venus Williams will play eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki who dominated Sorana Cirstea 6-1, 6-2.

Wozniacki in press

“That was good. That was really pleasing, and I always know that Sorana can be a tricky opponent,” said Wozniacki. “It was important for me not to let her back in the game, and I felt like I served well and I put the pressure on her and played the way I wanted to play today.”

“All credit to Caroline,” Cirstea said. “She played great today. I think she played one of the best matches I have ever played against her. Very solid. Quite aggressive from the start. She should definitely deserve this win. I didn’t really get a chance to get fully into the match.”


Wozniacki’s Streak Snapped, Kvitova Serves Her Way to Final

By Jack Cunniff

New Haven Open at Yale– Friday, August 24, 2012

Summary of Friday semifinal action at the Connecticut Tennis Center in New Haven:


Semifinal: (7) Maria Kirilenko def. (3) Caroline Wozniacki, 7-5, ret.


The Caroline Wozniacki winning streak at the New Haven Open ended Friday, through a combination of Maria Kirilenko and an injury to her right knee.  Wozniacki, who had won 20 consecutive matches in New Haven and was undefeated lifetime in the tournament, was questionable for her semifinal after injuring the knee in yesterday’s quarterfinal against Dominika Cibulkova.  However, early reports indicated she had a successful practice in the morning, and would take the court for match.


The first set was high quality tennis, with both women combining for over 20 winners.  They held serve comfortably throughout the set, relying on the placement of their serves rather than power.  The first break points of the match didn’t occur until the eleventh game, with Wozniacki serving at 5-5.  Two down-the-line backhand winners for Kirilenko brought her to double break point at 15-40. Wozniacki fought off both break points, the first with an entertaining net exchange punctuated by an open-court volley winner by Wozniacki.  But a return of serve winner by Kirilenko gave her a third break opportunity, one that she would capitalize on.  Kirilenko held serve easily to win the first set, 7-5.


As it turned out, it would be the only set.  Wozniacki called for the trainer on the changeover. After having a brief examination, Wozniacki made the decision to retire from the match.  Following the match, Wozniacki was evasive in answering questions about the diagnosis of the injury, and would only offer that she felt the knee getting worse as play continued.  She hopes that with a few days of rest, she will recover and be ready for the U.S. Open next week.


Meanwhile, Kirilenko advances to her eleventh career final, her first on U.S. soil.  Regardless of the result of the final, she will reach a career high No. 12 in the rankings next week.


Semifinal: (2) Petra Kvitova def. (4) Sara Errani, 6-1, 6-3


Petra Kvitova picked up where she left off Thursday, imposing her daunting serve on an overmatched opponent.  And just as in the quarterfinals, her service statistics looked impeccable: eight aces, no double faults, and no break points.  In total, she lost only nine points in her eight service games.  Kvitova has certainly found her groove on serve.


Errani was a game competitor.  She tried to run down the Kvitova groundstrokes, and mix up the pace of the rallies.  She acknowledged afterwards the difficulty of the situation, deciding to attempt more powerful shots while risking errors, or trying to prolong points and let Kvitova make mistakes.  But with the Czech playing as well as she did, it’s not certain either strategy would have worked against her.


With Kvitova easily holding serve, she was able to take risks on Errani’s service games, and strike winners on her service returns.  She broke the Italian twice in each set, and easily advanced into her second final of 2012.



Around the Grounds – Friday August 24th:

Prior to tomorrow’s Singles Final, the Doubles Final will be held featuring the world No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams.  Americans Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, the higher ranked and top-seeded doubles team, will battle the Czech pair of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.  This is a rematch of the 2012 London Olympic semifinal which the Czechs won en route to a silver medal… It was a somber press conference for Caroline Wozniacki, being asked the details of her injury and it’s impact on her U.S. Open prospects, but she did manage a moment of levity.  When asked to look back at her last five years in New Haven and what the tournament has meant to her, Wozniacki laughed: “It sounds like I’m retiring.”… Maria Kirilenko was asked if her boyfriend Alex Ovechkin, left wing for the NHL Washington Capitals, would be in attendance for Saturday’s final, but she was coy in her response: “I don’t know. Can be.”… All three of Petra Kvitova’s New Haven Open matches have been played in the evening session.  When asked about her preference for day of night matches, she admitted that she had asked for night matches.  “In the night, it’s not as hot as during the day. I think tomorrow will be so –so. I hope it will be okay.”

Jack Cunniff is covering the New Haven Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his updates on twitter @TennisNewsTPN. His personal twitter is @JRCunniff.